Panicking at the thought that someone had been routinely breaking into his apartment to leave strangely telling messages on Post-It notes, and even toying with the idea that he was losing his mind, one man turned to Reddit for legal advice on where he stood in terms of a defense should he be able to sleuth out the culprit.
Donning the fitting username RBradbury1920, he told the mysterious tale.
“On the 15th of April I found a yellow Post-It note in a handwriting that wasn’t mine on my desk reminding me of some errands I had to do, but told literally nobody about. While odd, I chalked it up to something I did in my sleep, thinking maybe in my half-awake state I scrawled it so it didn’t appear to be my handwriting. I threw it out and thought little of it.”
That was only the beginning of it. Four days later, he found yet another note.
“I found another Post-It note on the back of my desk chair, in the same handwriting as the previous note, telling me to make sure I ‘saved my documents.’ I was freaked out, but there were no other signs of a break-in, so I set up a web-cam in my house aimed at my desk and used a security-cam app for it to record after detecting movement.”
This was now twice with no discernible motive. He figured that if he set up surveillance, he could catch the note-leaver in the act, and finally get some answers.
About one week later, he woke up to find another Post-It note.
“Our landlord isn’t letting me talk to you, but it’s important we do,” it read. No name, no contact information.
He immediately set out to his computer, pulling up the webcam files so he could see what the footage would reveal.
There was nothing from the night before—no files seemed to have saved. But then he checked the computer’s recycling bin and noticed it had been emptied—something he hadn’t done himself recently.
This, to him, indicated “someone had noticed the webcam and deleted the files.”
A few days later, he found a Post-It note on the front door of the apartment.
It was blank.
And inside the apartment, there were more Post-Its on other, various doors. All blank, in various colors. He needed to tell someone.
Did he even have any legal ground here? Could the police do something about it with no proof and no leads? He wondered if he should check with the landlord, then remembered he had a letter from him from when he moved in. When he compared the handwriting with some of the notes, he realized it was indeed identical.
“Could this count as evidence?”
After posting the story on Reddit, he received a slew of comments, and one particularly interesting one.
“You seem sincere and this doesn’t appear to be the plot of a Ray Bradbury short story,” one Reddit user prefaced his advice with. He added that while it was possible his landlord was leaving notes for him, the notes themselves and the context made it seem outlandishly unlikely.
“It’s likely that you are writing the notes yourself, but you are forgetting. Do you use Post-It notes as reminders in any other parts of your life or job?” they asked. Reddit user Kakkerlak suggested that it could be a mental health issue worth checking out—but it could also be a physical problem.
“You mentioned that you have a very unusual narrow bedroom with no windows; is there a chance that you are not getting enough ventilation when you sleep, or that there is a carbon monoxide leak in the building? A cheap CO detector (which you should have anyway) is a fast way to find out,” they advised.
“You’ll also have really bad headaches,” they added.
After reading the comment, he realized he did indeed have bad headaches, but had never thought to check for the possibility of carbon monoxide.
But he did have a detector just sitting in a box somewhere in the apartment, and it wouldn’t hurt to check.
So he plugged it in, and saw the jaw-dropping results.
It was carbon monoxide.
The notes had been getting weirder and weirder, and he had no recollection whatsoever of writing them. But once he realized there was a leak, he of course told his landlord and neighbors—one of which lived close to his own apartment unit and was also experiencing headaches.
It turned out, Kakkerlak had experienced carbon monoxide poisoning himself before and thought it couldn’t hurt to mention—but almost didn’t because he wasn’t sure it was relevant.
“I almost didn’t mention the part about headaches and it seems like that’s what triggered the response from the OP, so I’m very glad it seems to have been helpful,” he wrote. “Reddit can be amazing sometimes when a specifically qualified person appears to provide detailed and specific expert information.”
“And then sometimes it’s just a guy up late who’s been poisoned by CO before.”